WHAT TO EAT IN HA GIANG
Ha Giang is not only known for its mountainous, majestic scenery, ancient customs and traditional festivals, but as a place with bountiful produce as well. Many of the local dishes are made with ingredients sourced from farms and fields nearby. As a result the local cuisine is always fresh with flavor combinations only found in these highlands.
Here is a list of the best traditional dishes of Ha Giang. Let’s check it out
Banh cuon trung (rice flour rolled with egg)
Banh cuon trung (rice flour rolled with egg)
This dish is perfect if you travel in Ha Giang in the cold season. Banh cuon is served together with Vietnamese pork sausage and a special type of fish sauce. Tear off a small piece of Banh cuon – a rice flour steamed ball often mixed with vegetables and sometimes meat – dip it in the sauce and experience the unique flavor combinations of this traditional dish.
Au tau porridge
Au Tau porridge is one of the most unusual, yet quintessentially Ha Giang, dishes you will find in this region.
You might be attracted to the street vendor by the mouthwatering aroma of sticky rice mixed with regular rice. (There are many different types of rice in Vietnam).
Au Tau porridge is the delightful combination of the Au Tau vegetable (a black, bitter tasting root vegetable sort of like a potato) slowly simmered with fatty pig legs and herbs. The porridge is mixed with some lean, chopped meat, sprinkled with a little more herbs and then served. As the Au Tau vegetable has a slightly bitter taste, the porridge is also known as ‘Bitter Porridge.’
Locals will often savour spoofuls of this dish on a cold winters evening sitting by the fire.
Sour Pho (pronounced Fa) is a popular dish in Ha Giang in the summer months. You may have tried Pho before but this is Pho with a pleasant sour twist. Pho is a simple noodle soup made with special Pho noodles. The soup often includes roasted duck meat, sausage, peanut oil a combination of herbs and cassava. Bowls of steaming Sour Pho are available at the Ha Giang market and boast flavours that are impossible to find anywhere else in Vietnam.
Bamboo sticky rice
Ha Giang is a fertile region and the delicious Bamboo sticky rice is a special dish from the “Tay” ethnic people who live here.
The technique to make Bamboo Sticky Rice is simple. The rice is thoroughly soaked in water and then usually cooked underground wrapped in bamboo and banana leaves.
Fresh rice is then added to the mixture along with a sprinkle of salt and mixed well. This is then added to a bamboo tube, and water is poured over the surface of rice. The mouth of the tube is covered with fresh leaves or dried banana leaves and placed in the flames or on a heap of charcoal, and rotated slowly so the heat works its way around the shell. After an hour or so (depending on the tube or rice), you will be able to smell the sweet aroma of freshly cooked sticky rice.
Before serving, cut the green outer shell of the bamboo tube away. It will now be burnt black. The rice will stay in the shape of the tube and will be surrounded by the thin ivory colored silk rind of the bamboo tube.
Bamboo sticky rice was eaten by pregnant and breastfeeding women as it is safer to eat rice cooked in bamboo than in copper or aluminum metal pots.
The finished product is often enjoyed with a sprinkling of sesame salt or served along side baked fish.
Rainbow sticky rice
The ethnic groups who live in these northern mountains have an extremely diverse and unique culinary culture. This is best demonstrated by the Rainbow Sticky Rice. This rice represents the convergence of traditional values, including cosmic notions, philosophy of yin and yang and noble meaning.
Rainbow Sticky Rice is made up of rice of five different colors; red, yellow, blue, violet and white. You can easily find the sticky rice at the market in Ha Giang.
Most areas offer some variation of Rainbow Sticky Rice but, depending on the region, they can mix or use different colors to create a sticky rainbow. The ingredients include: sticky rice, fragrant rice, seeds, and leaves of trees to create the dye. These leaves can be either green leaves from ginger, green rice leaves, grapefruit peel, bitter bamboo shoots that have been burnt and soaked water with a little lime or yellow turmeric powder mixed with water.
Before dyeing the rice, the rice is cleaned and then soaked in water for 6 – 8 hours. Divide the rice into 5 different containers. One for each color. After dyeing, the last step is making the rice into a rainbow. This requires some skill and a lot of practise to get the perfect look.
For a long time oranges have been one of the most popular products in Ha Giang after tea. This is because the warm climate and conditions in this area are ideal for creating very sweet, juicy fruit.
Street food in Ha Giang
There are also a lot of interesting street-food in Ha Giang. You can find locations here : https://www.foody.vn/ha-giang#/places This is helpful Vietnamese app to help you find your favourite food. It is in Vietnamese but you will easily find your way around it.
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